PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, April 18. AFTER a two-day delay due to a burst pipe, and a switch to a pure timed finals schedule, the South African Nationals returned with a bang as Charl Bouwer downed the world record in the S13 200-meter free event.
Bouwer clocked a time of 1:56.78, demolishing the previous mark of 2:02.12 set by Greece's Charalampos Taiganidis in 2006.
Meanwhile, Chad le Clos had a shorter-distance double this evening. He won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.63 with Myles Brown (1:49.46) and Calvyn Justus (1:51.39) taking second and third. Later in the night, Le Clos turned in a 23.72 for second behind Roland Schoeman's sizzling 23.11 for the win as both cleared the FINA A cut. Nico Meyer wound up third in 24.64.
With Cameron van der Burgh in Norway to visit the grave of Alexander Dale Oen and to compete in a memorial contest in Dale Oen's honor at the Bergen meet this weekend, Jarred Crous claimed the men's 100-meter breast title in 1:03.07. Van der Burgh already clocked a 1:00.71 in semis to qualify for Worlds, and South Africa's federation is already on record having said they would consider him for the spot even if not done in finals due to the facility issues. Giulio Zorzi (1:03.39) and Jared Pike (1:04.05) finished second and third in the finale.
Meanwhile, Trudi Maree (26.09), Jessica Ashley-Cooper (26.11) and Lehesta Kemp (26.18) might have missed the World Championships mark in the women's 50-meter free, but the trio did earn selection at the World University Games to represent South Africa.
Gerhard Zandberg topped the men's 100-meter backstroke event in 55 17, while Darren Murray placed second in 55.84. Ricky Ellis raced to a 56.34 to earn a spot on the World University Games roster as well.
Tara Nicholas (1:09.99) won the women's 100-meter breaststroke, while Michelle Wessels (1:14.32) and Nina Hess (1:18.02) finished second and third. Marlies Ross captured the 200-meter IM in 2:18.57. Rene Warnes (2:18.68) and Jolandi Els (2:20.97) completed the top three.
Vanessa Mohr snagged the gold medal in the women's 100-meter fly with a 1:00.82. Marne Erasmus touched second in 1:00.99 with Warnes taking her second podium of the night with a third-place 1:02.38.
In the multi-disability races, Cornel Loubser (1:08.63), Sarah Walker (1:09.21) and Yvonne Smith (1:19.72) made up the 100m butterfly S14-S15 category wins, with Smith also claiming the gold in the 50m breaststroke later on in the evening.
In the S1-S13 100m butterfly, Adri Visser finished first ahead of Dimakatso Makgakga and Tezna Abrahams. Abrahams and Makgakga also raced to event wins in their respective categories in the 50 breast later in the night.
On the men's side, the 100m butterfly S14-S15 category win went to Ethan Paulse in 1:04.38, followed by Craig Groenewald in 1:04.93 and Challis Wright in 1:08.40. Groenewald and Wright also finished second and third in the 50m breaststroke finals in 34.01 and 35.31 respectively. The S1-S13 50m breaststroke winner was Kevin Paul with a time of 30.35
Special thanks to Swimming South Africa for contributing to this report.